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Greenfield Jeff Greenfield is senior analyst for CNN. He will provide weekly, Web-exclusive analysis during Election 2000.

Jeff Greenfield: Random thoughts of a Bradley operative

By Jeff Greenfield/CNN

February 2, 2000
Web posted at: 12:13 a.m. EST (0513 GMT)

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Random Thoughts of a Bradley Operative:

You know how they say the secret of great comedy is timing?

It's the secret of politics, too.

If we had been ahead until Iowa, then gradually lost our lead day by day until Gore caught us at the tape, the story would have been "Bradley Blows It!" But thanks to our disastrous performance in Iowa, our guy just about fell off the charts in New Hampshire.

Then, last Wednesday, Bradley hit Gore with the two-by-four of trustworthiness. Over the next few days, a whole bunch of press stories -- in The Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and Fortune magazine -- all clobbered Gore on playing fast and loose on everything from abortion to campaign finance to his past achievements.

So we were able to run close enough to make a loss in a state where we outspent Gore, and were ahead of him for months, look like a comeback.

We got another break, too. John McCain.

The size of his victory, coupled with the Frank Capra nature of his campaign, was the story of the night. Contrasted with John, Gore's relatively narrow victory was a Page Two story. Moreover, there just isn't the, "Gee whiz!" quality about a sitting V.P.'s win.

So: We've got a ticket to the national primary, more money than Gore, and a rationale for running (if we put Gore up as our leader, we'll get creamed on trust). And even the long-shot possibility of a McCain nomination by the Republicans makes our case stronger.

What don't we have?

Democrats.

The exit polls in New Hampshire say we were beaten among Democrats 59-41. Only a big edge among independents kept this race close.

But independents can't vote in New York. Or in California (at least, not when it comes to awarding delegates). In fact, in most of the big states coming, only Democrats can vote in Democratic primaries.

And that means that, unless we can make real inroads among union members, minorities, and traditional liberals, we're toast.

Well: we've got a little time, a little breathing room, and the resources to make our case.

If we could only figure out exactly what that case is...

ELECTION 2000
Bush, Bradley win early vote in Dixville Notch (2-01-00)

One day before the New Hampshire primary, candidates seek to sway voters (1-31-00)

GOP candidates on final swing through New Hampshire before Tuesday's primary (1-31-00)

Democratic rivals focus on voters for Tuesday's New Hampshire primary (1-31-00)

Final tracking poll shows McCain, Gore with solid leads (1-31-00)

NHPrimary.com: Record turnout forecast for New Hampshire primary (1-31-00)

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